June 3 to 11, 2010 delegates gather for the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod. Once again they are considering the topic of sexuality. Janet Marshall, chair of General Synod’s Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee, sets up the discussion with a piece covering what's happened since GS2007, and the plans for GS2010. An extract:
In planning for how to frame this synod’s debate on sexuality, the Council of General Synod considered what have we have learned from our work and journey thus far. The simple fact is that we don’t agree.Read it here.
In light of the work of our theologians and church leaders, synods, pastors, interest groups, and the parish and diocesan groups that have studied and prayed together, we don’t agree. In light of our heartfelt commitments to the Gospel, to living God’s mission in the world, and to the Anglican Church nationally and internationally, we don’t agree on how to resolve our issues regarding sexuality. And we are well practiced in our disagreements. Our suspicions of each other are high as we once again take our sides and prepare for the next debate. Within this context no motion can come to the floor of General Synod without the suspicion of bias or manipulation.
We don’t agree—and what is at stake is sustaining a community within the context of a complex and conflicted argument about its moral life. This has shaped the Council of General Synod’s decision of how to bring the sexuality discussions to GS 2010. The result is a process that will allow for conversation and listening first, before putting forward a motion. Members of synod will participate in a set of discussions. The content of these discussions will be used to shape the resolutions that will then come to the floor.
The agenda for General Synod 2010 includes six "Sexuality Discernment" sessions over the course of the meeting.
Resolutions before General Synod are here. Under A137: Anglican Communion Covenant "a recommendation regarding adoption of the Covenant for the Anglican Communion" would be brought to General Synod no earlier than 2013. Under "background information" it states,
Three key areas were clarified [final Covenant text circulated under cover letter from the General Secretary, Canon Kenneth Kearon]:
First, was clarification about the meaning of the word, church. This clarification was necessary because of expressed concerns that anyone could claim to be an Anglican church and then sign up to the Covenant, in effect opting themselves into the Communion.
The second key area addressed was the completion of the change in tone from the juridical to pastoral and relational.
The third key clarification dealt with who was to manage and administer the Covenant. In successive drafts this has changed from the Primates meeting (Nassau) to the ACC (St Andrews), the Joint Standing Committee of the Primates and the ACC (Ridley Cambridge) to The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion (Ridley Cambridge revised). This is significant in that the Primatial members(4) are nominated by the Primates Meeting and the remainder are elected by the ACC. The overall operation of the Standing Committee functions under the Constitution of the ACC. This change resolves one of the key concerns raised by Canada and a number of other provinces at ACC 14.
Additionally, the final Covenant text makes it clear that “Nothing in this Covenant of itself shall be deemed to alter any provision of the Constitution and Canons of any Church of the Communion, or to limit its autonomy of governance.”